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Being Independent is a Great Thing: Subjective Evaluations of Self-Employment and Hierarchy

  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Matthias Benz

One can be independent, or subject to decisions made by others. This paper empirically tests whether individuals attach an intrinsic value to the institutional difference between independence and hierarchy. Taking self-employment as an important case of independence, it is shown that the self-employed derive more utility from their work than people employed by an organization, irrespective of income gained or hours worked. This is evidence for procedural utility: people do not only value outcomes, but also the conditions and processes leading to these outcomes.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 959.

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Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_959
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  1. Barton H. Hamilton, 2000. "Does Entrepreneurship Pay? An Empirical Analysis of the Returns to Self-Employment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(3), pages 604-631, June.
  2. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2005. "Beyond outcomes: measuring procedural utility," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(1), pages 90-111, January.
  3. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-41, September.
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  7. Clark, Andrew E. & Oswald, Andrew J., 1996. "Satisfaction and comparison income," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(3), pages 359-381, September.
  8. Djankov, Simeon & La Porta, Rafael & Shleifer, Andrei & Lopez de Silanes, Florencio, 2001. "The regulation of entry," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2661, The World Bank.
  9. Clark, Andrew E., 2001. "What really matters in a job? Hedonic measurement using quit data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 223-242, May.
  10. Amartya Sen, 1997. "Maximization and the Act of Choice," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(4), pages 745-780, July.
  11. Blanchflower, D.G. & Oswald, A., 1991. "What Makes an Entrepreneur?," Economics Series Working Papers 99125, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  12. Easterlin, Richard A, 2001. "Income and Happiness: Towards an Unified Theory," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(473), pages 465-84, July.
  13. Sen, Amartya, 1995. "Rationality and Social Choice," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(1), pages 1-24, March.
  14. Edward P. Lazear, 1999. "Economic Imperialism," NBER Working Papers 7300, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Bruno S. Frey & Alois Stutzer, 2002. "What Can Economists Learn from Happiness Research?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(2), pages 402-435, June.
  16. Kahneman, Daniel & Wakker, Peter P & Sarin, Rakesh, 1997. "Back to Bentham? Explorations of Experienced Utility," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(2), pages 375-405, May.
  17. Oswald, A.J., 1997. "Happiness and Economic Performance," Papers 18, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  18. Clark, Andrew E & Oswald, Andrew J, 1994. "Unhappiness and Unemployment," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 104(424), pages 648-59, May.
  19. Oi, Walter Y. & Idson, Todd L., 1999. "Firm size and wages," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 33, pages 2165-2214 Elsevier.
  20. Robert J. MacCulloch & Rafael Di Tella & Andrew J. Oswald, 2001. "Preferences over Inflation and Unemployment: Evidence from Surveys of Happiness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 335-341, March.
  21. Blanchflower, David G., 2000. "Self-employment in OECD countries," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(5), pages 471-505, September.
  22. Andrew Clark & Yannis Georgellis & Peter Sanfey, 1999. "Scarring: The Psychological Impact of Past Unemployment," Studies in Economics 9903, School of Economics, University of Kent.
  23. Marc Le Menestrel, 2001. "A Process Approach to the Utility for Gambling," Theory and Decision, Springer, vol. 50(3), pages 249-262, May.
  24. Rafael Lalive, 2007. "Do Wages Compensate for Workplace Disamenities?," Applied Economics Quarterly (formerly: Konjunkturpolitik), Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 53(3), pages 273-298.
  25. Konow, James, 2001. "Fair and square: the four sides of distributive justice," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 137-164, October.
  26. Shiller, Robert J & Boycko, Maxim & Korobov, Vladimir, 1991. "Popular Attitudes toward Free Markets: The Soviet Union and the United States Compared," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 385-400, June.
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